SCE&G, SanteeCooper Should Not Receive Taxpayer Subsidies to Build New Nuclear Reactor; Nuclear Power Should Be Abandoned

Feb. 10, 2006

SCE&G, SanteeCooper Should Not Receive Taxpayer Subsidies to Build New Nuclear Reactor; Nuclear Power Should Be Abandoned

Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy Program

South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCE&G) and Santee Cooper’s plan to build a new nuclear reactor at the Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville, S.C., should not be permitted to come to fruition. Not only should the government refuse the companies’ likely request for taxpayer subsidies to defray the costs of licensing and building a plant, but the government shouldn’t issue a license for this nuclear reactor at all.

No new reactors have been ordered in the United States for 30 years – and for good reason. Nuclear power is extremely expensive; in fact, no nuclear power plant has operated without taxpayer money since the nuclear power industry was born. Nuclear power poses a public safety and national security threat and creates dangerous highly radioactive waste, for which no country in the world has a solution.

If the companies are permitted to proceed with its proposal, taxpayers could be on the hook for cradle-to-grave subsidies, including:

  • half the cost of applying for the license, estimated at as much as $45 million per application for pre-approved reactor designs;
  • “risk insurance” to pay the industry for delays in licensing, which could be up to $500 million for a single reactor;
  • taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for up to 80 percent of the cost of a project, potentially costing taxpayers more than $2 billion for one reactor; and
  • production tax credits of 1.8 cents for each kilowatt-hour of nuclear-generated electricity from new reactors during the first eight years of operation, estimated at a total of $5.7 billion in revenue losses to the U.S. Treasury through 2025.

Public Citizen therefore calls on the government to deny these two companies federal dollars to subsidize the exorbitant costs of building a new nuclear facility and ultimately to deny the companies a license.

For more information about the five fatal flaws of nuclear power, click here.

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